Frank Lampard’s weekend brace against Aston Villa not only lifted the Blues to victory and ensured their spot in the UEFA Champions League next season, but it also lifted him above Bobby Tambling as the club’s all-time leader in goals scored. The 34 year old midfielder has had his future with the club speculated on extensively despite leading Chelsea in Premier League scoring with 15 goals. With his favorite manager, Jose Mourinho, all but guaranteeing his return to Chelsea this summer, it makes sense for the club to retain Super Frank’s services. Finally after months of speculation it appears Lampard is ready to accept a one year contract extension from the club. Lampard is expected to captain the Blues in today’s Europa League Final against Portugal’s Sporting Benfica.
Lampard’s role as a first team regular has come into question during the 2012-13 season, though it has not been as a result of Lampard’s performances. Considered to be the 6th best performing player in the Premier League by WhoScored.com, Lampard buoyed the team through the tumultuous transition between managers Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez. Most clubs would rush to re-sign a club legend that was their leading scorer in the league, but with the emergence of the midfield trio of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, and Oscar, Lampard has been viewed as the odd man out in the midfield.
Lampard’s steady influence has been invaluable to the club, which has gone through 9 managers during Frank’s tenure. It has been rumored that Lampard’s relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich became strained during the departure of former manager Andre Villas-Boas and prior contract negotiations. Lampard, considered by many to be one of “football’s good guys”, does not have a reputation as a player who causes trouble for the club. Earlier this year he announced he would be producing a line of children’s books called “Frankie’s Magic Football” based on previously undeveloped stories he reads to his two daughters. With his favor among fans approaching an all-time high, some may wonder what there is left for Frank to accomplish at Chelsea.
With the goal of overtaking Bobby Tambling accomplished and added to a laundry list of personal accomplishments to match a trophy case full of team honors, Lampard has accomplished nearly every imaginable objective with Chelsea. If he is able to steer the team to victory this evening, Chelsea will become the first team to win the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League in that order in consecutive seasons.
Several American MLS clubs have expressed their interest in signing Super Frank, while he has significantly reduced his wage demands and continually expressed his desire to stay in an effort to broker a new deal with Chelsea. From a public standpoint it does not appear that Frank was ready to take a “victory lap” in American football the way David Beckham, Robbie Keane, and Torsten Frings have. Instead he has made the commendable decision to continue competing at football’s highest level.
With today’s opportunity at European glory, Mourinho’s Chelsea return on the horizon, and the fate of club legend Frank Lampard assured, Chelsea fans have every reason to celebrate and “keep the blue flag flying high.”